A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Dear Parents, Carer’s and Friends of Bethany,

“The month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. Our heart rejoices at the thought of the moving tribute of faith and love that will be paid to the Queen of Heaven in every corner of the earth. For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne”. 

– Mense Maio, Pope Paul VI,1965

 

The term mental health is used often across many sectors in society and such a term has varying layers of complexity.

How can we promote positive mental health?

As a school of over 1000 students, it is not uncommon to meet with parents who may have identified an area of need for their daughter. This may be in the mental health space or of a nature that is especially private. The College is used to dealing with sensitive issues even if it may be your first time as a family unit coming to terms with the issue. Below is advice which we would give to parents. I write this with the hope that this may normalise some situations which are occurring in your family and what our approach would be if you inform us.

At home if you notice a change in your daughter be aware of the signs of these changes. This may be an increase or decrease in appetite, mood swings, withdrawal from activities, family or family life, sensitivity around privacy, lack of engagement in school work including homework. Sometimes these changes may be part of the changes of an adolescent girl. If you see any of these signs promote exercise especially walking the dog or speak with your daughter as you walk. Teenagers can find a face to face conversation confronting but less so if it is as you are driving or walking. Monitor technology use. Many parents have strict technology rules at home such as by a certain time, all technology must be placed on the kitchen bench so that it is definitely not in the bedroom. If your daughter needs to complete school work and this is genuine and it is late, ask her to complete it on her computer in a communal part of the house which may be quieter due to the lateness of the evening. Adolescent girls may genuinely not have the coping strategies to exist without technology being on hand and thus they may need help in this regard. If it is late and your daughter insists on completing school work, it is best to stop the work and if this leads to a penalty for an assessment, this may be a valuable lesson to learn for future planning.

Encourage your daughter to eat at the family table with the family as this should be an inclusive and positive time for families where technology is not allowed on the family table. Promote eating breakfast as a means to being kind to her body by refuelling and enhancing concentration at school. Work with your daughter on a routine of a bedtime so that enough sleep is had for the next day. Of course there are times when all of us do not follow such an outline but make this the exception and not the rule. 

An interesting  awareness exercise is for girls to monitor the time spent on social media on average each day and to rationalise this with time spent studying especially if your daughter is not managing her schedule well to complete work without stress.

Your daughter has an assessment calendar of all due dates for the year. At a minimum, 2 weeks before this due date a notification of the details of the task is distributed. Due dates do not have a great deal of meaning without a schedule of working towards a due date. This often takes the form of breaking down the task and setting goals of parts of tasks to be completed. If your daughter is in Year 12, HSC projects are typically due in the first few weeks of Term 3. How are they travelling towards this due date right now?

The more engaged that parents can be in the school life of their daughter the more successful she can be. This is because consistent messages are given and interest is shown. Parents are not expected to know the answers to school work or be able to contribute to content however support structures such as those outlined above equally help your daughter succeed.

Friendships are often magnified in teenage years. Sometimes friendships enhance your daughter whilst others may not. Get to know your daughter’s friends and talk to your daughter about the qualities she sees in her friends.

If your daughter feels that she does not have enough time for what may be deemed usual activities, please contact the College to see if we can assist. Avoid listening to your daughter if she does not want you to contact the College if your natural instinct is that we should know. Often parents ring the College and ask that the conversation between parent and teacher be kept confidential and we can do this.

The role that parents and the school play together is crucial for your daughter to grow and to meet challenges as they arise whether they be family breakdown or illness, mental health issues, poor time management, lack of motivation for school, declining attendance, friendship issues or other worries. The St George area has local services especially in the mental health space that we can recommend for additional help if required. We are also pleased to be able to host the 2 parent events that were cancelled recently in the form of Internet Safety and Study Skills. Details of the new dates are contained within this newsletter.

Thank you to all Year 11 and 12 parents for your flexibility in the change to Zoom interviews this week. I had the pleasure of reading all reports over the last fortnight and wish to congratulate the following girls who will be receiving Principal’s Awards for their report.

SEMESTER 1 PRINCIPAL’S AWARD

Year 12 

Claudia Ceballos Caitlin Hollis
Corina Choy Sophia Houiris
Abbey Djundja Jovanka Lim
Georgia Fanos Luana Rendina
Jenessa Fong Nektaria Rice
Kate Glavocevic Sienna Williams

Year 11

Alissa Caforio Violet Gruppelar
Sienna Casey Yasmin Hijazi
Sarah Chapman Linh Huynh
Katelin Cirjak Diya Lijo
Leesa Coleman Isabella Lutovski
Erika Daubaras Eloise Martelletti
Isabella Diaz Frances Nicolaou
Christina Dracopoulos Luna Pandiella-McLeod
Leah El-Asmar Tyana Petrevski
Hayley Eskander Isabel Santillana
Lucy Flanagan Rachel Tannous
Tahlia Genlik Maddison Underhill

 

Recently, I have had a few forms of communication about parents and parking. This is a difficult situation as it requires us all to be responsible and obey rules for the safety of all. Regardless, I ask that you do not double park, park across driveways or turn into driveways to pick up or drop off your daughter. The whole of the parish parking area is to be used for parish visits, not to use as a drive through for Bethany students. It only takes one serious injury for the driver to have regrets. We know that space is difficult surrounding our school. Please arrange to meet your daughter in an alternative spot using pedestrian lights if this is more helpful but I urge you to always drive within the law.

 

Robyn Rodwell 

College Principal